Tracey Nelson crunches the numbers from the weekend’s Super 15 action where the Hurricanes pulled off a win despite having any key statistics in their favour.
HIGHLANDERS v HURRICANES (19-23)
Somehow the Hurricanes won this game despite conceding twice as many penalties (10 v five), making twice as many knock-ons (12 v six), and only half the linebreaks (five v nine) of the Highlanders.
Even their goal kicker Beauden Barrett wasn’t as good, landing 60 percent of his kicks to the 83 percent from the Highlanders’ Colin Slade.The one thing the Hurricanes did well was show patience, with 13 phases leading up to the first try of the match by Conrad Smith.
The Hurricanes only had four scrum feeds in this match, and it took until the 37th minute of the game to get their first scrum. In comparison, the Highlanders had 12 scrum feeds – mostly due to the 12 knock-ons by the Hurricanes.
The Hurricanes dominated the breakdown, winning three turnovers to the sole turnover won by the Highlanders.
The Highlanders only conceded five penalties in this game, all coming at the breakdown. The Hurricanes conceded 10, with four conceded at the breakdown. It was also the first time this season that the Hurricanes have been penalised for being off-side in general play, with two penalties conceded in their own 22.
This match was the ninth time the winning margin between these two sides has been within seven points.
KINGS v CHIEFS (24-35)
Liam Messam became the first player to make 100 appearances for the Chiefs as they made hard work of winning this game in Port Elizabeth.
For the second week in a row the Chiefs conceded a yellow card at the breakdown. In total they conceded 12 penalties in this match with Ben Afeaki conceding three penalties in the first half alone. All but one of their penalties were conceded at the breakdown.
The Chiefs made 18 knock-ons in this game, with 10 of them coming in the first half. Worst offenders were lock Michael Fitzgerald and winger Lelia Masaga with three each.
Once again this week the Chiefs’ offload game was in evidence, making a total of 13 while the Kings only managed three. The Chiefs also made 15 clean linebreaks in this match.
Tanerau Latimer and Ben Afeaki were the leading tacklers in this match with 13 each, while Messam made nine runs with ball in hand for a total of 75 metres.
Despite their handling woes the Chiefs managed to score four tries in this match, and are not only the leading points scorers in the competition but are the only side to have scored four tries in each of the games they have played so far this season.
CRUSADERS v BULLS (41-19)
After a bit of a stuttering start, normal service resumed in Christchurch as the Crusaders ran in six tries to one and finally got their first win of the season over the previously unbeaten Bulls.
The Crusaders made 18 errors leading to turnovers in possession in this match, with 12 coming from knock-ons – six of those knock-ons came in the opening 20 minutes of the match.
Possession was dominated by the Crusaders, who had 116 rucks to 55. They also put together long phases of play, with two tries scored after 11 phases and another after 16.
The Crusaders seldom kicked the ball from first receiver this week (five kicks), and made just a total of 18 kicks from hand throughout the game.
There were only 16 penalties awarded in this match, nine against the Crusaders and seven against the Bulls. Almost half of the penalties were at scrum time (two conceded by the Crusaders and four by the Bulls).
Of the 12 scrums set in this match only five resulted in a clean win and the ball being cleared, with the other seven resulting in penalties or free kicks.
Robbie Fruean may have a wobbly start with the hands in the first 20 minutes of this match, but made up for it with two linebreaks, four offloads in the tackle, and his first try of the season.
The Crusaders only missed 11 tackles in this game, while the Bulls missed 31. Top tacklers for the Bulls were forwards Morne Mellett and Flip van der Merwe with 17 each, while the most missed tackles came from centre JJ Engelbrecht and winger Jurgen Visser with four each.
By Tracey Nelson